Beginning the Day Not in Hypervigilance

Ever wonder how to manage the autonomic adrenaline that is part of the trauma and aftermath? It’s autonomic which means automatic. Anytime we begin to hurry or feel stress, the hair-trigger releases adrenaline so we feel more hurried and more stressed and it releases cortisol that goes right to your belly and produces belly fat.

Your day can begin with all the triggers of hurrying to get out the door setting off the adrenaline that is likely to stay for hours or all day. The mood of your morning can influence the pace and reactivity of your day.

At our retreats, we practice quiet and gentle mornings. The women are to get up earlier so they have leisure in their morning and aren’t starting the day rushing and producing adrenaline. They have quiet (non-talking) breakfasts and allow their bodies to see what it feels like to not be hyper-vigilant.

Yes, I realize it is hard if you have kids. But you can still give your body the best chance of not starting off wrong by getting up early before anyone else. Take that opportunity to move slowly through a quiet house without the Calgon-commercial kind of beginning (remember the slogan “Calgon, take me away”?)

I get up before everyone else. I do not turn on all the lights which spawns hyperreactivity. Instead, I leave a low light on before I go to bed – like the range hood or a small lamp on a low setting. As soon as I get up, I light a pine scented candle to give off a nice relaxing scent. I read some gentle motivational or spiritual thoughts.

I go outside and experience the early morning for a few minutes (usually pre-dawn). I make my coffee and SIT with it, not gulping it on the run while trying to find my shoes.

I normally put on some relaxing instrumental music (no words!) and I make sure however I am moving, I am moving slowly and not rushing. (Your brain will increase in activity equal to your body activity–move fast, fast anxious brain).

I eat while not reading, or checking email or social media so as to not read something that starts my reactivity. Only when I consider my ‘work’ day starting do I engage in those kinds of activities.

Whatever I need for the day, I take care of the night before (take a shower, gather together work papers, prepare lunches, etc.) so my morning is gentle.

I use the low light, outdoors and nature, and pine scent as my mindfulness indoctrination. If I get in the car, the music is off and I continue with quiet until I have to engage.

Never start the day with the news, bright lights, rushing or too much noise. Ease gently into the morn…

Who wants to try it?